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Reasonable Adjustments: Paying for Medical Treatment

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Thanks to Rad Kohanzad of Serjeants’ Inn Chambers for preparing this case summary

Is it outside the scope of reasonable adjustments to require an employer to fund private medical treatment?

No, says the EAT in Croft Vets v Butcher.

Whilst off sick with work related depression, the employer referred the Claimant to a consultant psychiatrist who recommended that the Claimant see a clinical psychologist and attend six psychiatric sessions. The employer failed to arrange either and the employment tribunal held that those failures amounted to failures to make reasonable adjustments.

In dismissing this ground of appeal, the EAT upheld the finding that such adjustments were job related on the basis that the payments were not for "private medical treatment in general, but, rather, payment for a specific form of support to enable the Claimant to return to work and cope with the difficulties she had been experiencing at work."

Furthermore, although the consultant psychiatrist only gave the treatment a 50% chance of success, he thought that it would certainly lead to a significant improvement in the Claimant's depression. On that basis, the EAT held that such adjustments were reasonable because they would mitigate the effect of the PCP.